WOMEN

Bill De Blasio Hosts Live Reading Of Stanford Sexual Assault Letter

The New York mayor was joined by celebrities and government leaders.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio streamed a live reading of the Stanford sexual assault victim's powerful letter. 
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio streamed a live reading of the Stanford sexual assault victim's powerful letter. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gathered government officials and celebrities Wednesday for a dramatic, live reading of the Stanford University sexual assault victim's letter.

The event, streamed live on Facebook, featured the mayor's wife, Chirlane McCray; actresses Cynthia Nixon, Karen Olivo and Stacey Sargeant; and local government officials reading segments of the anonymous victim's letter in its entirety.

"Because we are her allies," McCray said at the beginning of the reading. "Because everyone needs to hear her story. Because in the time it takes us to read this statement, at least seven women in this country will report being raped. That is not acceptable."

The roughly 7,000-word letter, which the victim read in court last week after her assailant was sentenced to just six months in jail for three counts of sexual assault against her, recounts her experience of going to a party in January 2015, waking up bloodied in a hospital, finding out Stanford swimmer Brock Turner had sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious behind a campus dumpster and spending a year in court listening to him deny responsibility. 

The reading was inspired by a similar one on Monday by CNN host Ashleigh Banfield, who spent the first half of her show doing just that, McCray noted. 

These readings spotlight the victim's words and reject defenders of Turner who focus on his background and swimming accomplishments. One of the Stanford students who spotted the assault and stopped Turner from fleeing the scene, Peter Jonsson, has declined requests for interviews and is instead urging people to read the victim's statement. 

You can read her letter in its entirety below:

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